Technikon SA and South African Police Services Training of SAPS Members: briefing

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10 October 2001
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


10 October 2001

Chairperson: Mr M E George

Relevant documents:
Submission by Institute for Human Rights and Criminal Justice Studies: Technikon SA (See Appendix)
Presentation document by SAPS on training in SAPS

Technikon SA and the South African Police Services briefed the Committee on the current state of affairs of the education and training of SAPS members. The Committee was impressed by the positive efforts by both Technikon SA and SAPS in transforming the police service reflecting the needs of society however there were areas of concern.

The Committee was surprised to hear that enrollments at Technikon SA were steadily decreasing each year. SAPS members simply could not afford to study as SAPS no longer subsidises the studies of its members. Apparently financial constraints on SAPS is the reasoning behind this decision. SAPS members do not have incentives to study as qualifications are no longer a prerequisite for promotions. Promotions are purely done on a performance basis. The Committee felt that policy decisions on either of the issues should be examined in order for SAPS to reach its true potential.

The Chairperson, Mr George felt that Technikon SA would be in a better position than the South African Police Services (SAPS) to comment on the education and training of SAPS members. The Committee therefore expected a more in depth presentation from Technikon SA.

Technikon SA
The delegation comprised of Adv D Singh, Dr Anthony Minnaar, Ms D Mistry and Ms G Redpath.
Adv Singh initiated the presentation. She stated that SAPS and Technikon SA has had a longstanding relationship on the education and training of police members. When the transition was made from a police force to a police service, the courses offered by Technikon SA had to be adjusted to make allowances for the movement towards a more human rights ethos.

Ms Singh noted that figures in enrollments had been steadily dropping and in the year 2000 Technikon SA only had 11 000 enrollments. The number of graduates has also fluctuated over the years. The figures are 3575 in 1998, 2771 in 1999 and 3556 in the year 2000. When comparisons are made between numbers in enrollments and graduates it is evident that most members who register to study do not complete their studies.

Ms Singh stated that there are mainly two reasons for the dropout rate being so high. The first being that the SAPS no longer subsidises studies of members and the second being that there is no longer an incentive for members to study. This is due to the fact that promotions are now solely based on performance and not on qualifications. The need thus once again exists for academic qualifications to be criteria for promotions. It was however evident that there was no quick fix to the problem of financial assistance to members who wish to study. Ms Singh stated that the SAPS would have to apply its mind in trying to address both these policy issues as service delivery is negatively affected by lack of education and training.

Dr Minnaar continued the presentation by firstly noting some of the constraints that SAPS had to contend with. Severe budgetary and other funding constraints coupled with the use of out-dated teaching methods and a shortage of qualified trainers has negatively affected the training efforts of SAPS.

Dr Minnaar observed that there needs to be a total overhaul in the curriculum that is being taught to SAPS members. It is hoped that the process would be initiated by May 2002. Standards need to be set for outcome based education, study materials need to be redeveloped and greater interactive teaching methods need to be utilised.

Training in the investigation of crimes should become part of basic training, as it is one of the core functions of the police. It should not only be restricted to the training of detectives. The shortage of qualified trainers in SAPS is greatly due to the fact that trainers are often paid less than what they would earn as active members of SAPS would. The impact of poor training is that the public loses faith in the ability of SAPS to solve crimes. Dr Minnaar stated that there is also a dire need for stricter requirements to be set for the recruiting of SAPS members. Internationally, recruits are required to have degrees before they are recruited into law enforcement. Setting higher standards would greatly improve the quality of service that is being delivered. Another problem that has been identified is the lack of Field Training Officers (FTO) to assist new recruits when they enter the workplace. Designated FTOs are often too overburdened to properly assist new recruits. The result is that recruits often learn by trial and error, which in instances could very well be disastrous. Some other issues that were mentioned include the lack of specialised training for detectives, the lack of a proper skills audit of SAPS members and performance evaluation procedures.

Ms G Redpath gave the Committee a breakdown of statistics on for example the numbers of crimes per police person and the number of crimes per detective by province. It was interesting to note that provinces like the Northern Province, the NorthWest, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape had the highest figures.

Ms D Mistry also pointed out that forensics should be an area of concern for SAPS. Forensic analysts are leaving SAPS for higher paying jobs in the private sector. Currently there is a shortage of 270 forensic analysts in SAPS. The numbers have been decreasing from 253 in 1996 to 234 in 1998. At present each forensic analyst in SAPS handles about 600 cases whereas the international standard is 130 cases per forensic analyst. The result is that there are huge delays in test results being available to investigators.

For detail on some of the issues mentioned above please refer to the attached document.

The Chair asked why enrollments had dropped?

Ms Singh stated that the simple answer is that members cannot afford to study.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked what has been done to address the lack of basic skills of SAPS members. For example problems of communicating and report taking.

Ms Singh stated that foundation courses in language have been introduced in the curriculum to assess numeracy and literacy skills.

Adv Gaum asked the following questions:
(i) How does the structure of the course work?
(ii) Is the basic training course of six months adequate?
(iii) What is the difference in training for detectives and for uniformed officers?

Ms Singh responded as follows:
(i) New offerings include a 2-year diploma course, a 3 year degree course and a 4 year higher degree course.
(ii) It was felt that the basic training course was inadequate. The problem does not as much lie in the length of the course but rather on its contents.

Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked given the huge drops in enrollments over the years, what percentage of graduates is black? She also asked whether the highly ranked whites in SAPS received promotions on the basis of qualifications.

Ms Singh stated that in the year 2000, 56% of graduates were black. She did not wish to comment on the placement of white officers in SAPS.

Ms A van Wyk (UDM) asked whether a police officer who gets promoted to an administrative post could still be involved in actual policing if he or she so wished.

Ms Singh stated that it would have to be a policy decision that would have to be taken by SAPS.

The Chair asked if examples of police forces in countries like Brazil and Germany have been looked at, in light of the fact that they only allow a promotion if you are academically qualified for it. This acts as an incentive for officers to continually improve themselves.

Ms Singh stated that it is important for promotions to take place based on qualifications and experience. It was once again felt it is a policy decision to be taken by SAPS.

Adv Gaum asked the following questions:
(i) What is the ideal staff complement for detectives and uniformed officers in SAPS?
(ii) How many adequately trained detectives and uniformed officers does SAPS have and what are the shortages?

The following responses were given:
(i) The ideal number of detectives would be ± 125 000 and the ideal number of uniformed officers would be ± 500 000.
(ii) For the period 1997-2001, 34 000 detectives have completed training courses.
Dr Minnaar stated that the aim is to try to bring the caseload of detectives down from twenty cases per detective to ten cases per detective, which is the international norm.

South African Police Services (SAPS)
The delegation comprised of Training Divisional Commissioner J H Ferreira; Training Deputy Divisional Commissioner D Govender; the Head of Training Provision, Assistant Commissioner M A Lombard; the Head of Research, Design and Development, Assistant Commissioner C J Botha and the Head of Training Standards, Assistant Commissioner J H Mingard.

Commissioner Ferreira headed the presentation but the rest of the delegation made contributions as was needed. He gave a brief introduction on the structure of training in SAPS and listed the various national providers of training. Amongst those mentioned were Pretoria College, Paarl College, Graff-Reinet College and Verdrag Training Centre. Besides the national providers of training it was pointed out that training also takes place in every province.Commissioner Ferreira stated that research, design, development and maintenance of learning programmes and interventions are currently being addressed.

Continuous work is being done in the setting and improving of training standards
The purpose of which is to align the training programmes to be in compliance with legislative requirements such as SAQA Act, Skills Development Act and the Skills Levies Act. Commissioner Ferreira conceded that besides members lacking academic and theoretical skills, they also lack basic workplace skills such as the proper answering of telephone calls. It was an issue that SAPS would have to address internally.

Commissioner Govender outlined the strategic focus of SAPS. Some of its key focus areas are organised crime, serious and violent crimes and crime against women and children. This is in keeping with the National Crime Combating Strategy (NCCS). It was evident that members training had to be adjusted in order for them to be sensitised on the aforementioned issues. The vision of SAPS is to have committed and competent persons delivering an excellent police service. The mission is therefore the continuous education, training and development of people in the field of policing.

Commissioner Lombard gave the Committee a breakdown of the training that has been delivered in SAPS. He pointed out that the perception that SAPS trainers are not adequately trained is totally untrue. A total number of 1113 trainers have been trained at national institutions, provinces and national divisions. A point was also made that for the period 1 April 2001- 30 June 2001 alone, a total number of 19153 members have been trained. The total cost running into R9.5m. Commissioner Lombard also listed figures of persons who are currently employed by SAPS who have not completed matric. The Committee was surprised at the figures, but concerns were allayed when it came to light that educational programmes were being implemented to address the issue. SAPS was also initiating K53 programmes to provide drivers education to those members who do not have drivers licences

Commissioner Lombard stated that the perception about field training officers not performing their designated duties is also untrue. Applications have to be submitted by members in order to be considered as a field training officer. The screening process is vigorous and only a select few are chosen. He made the point of also stating that basic training in SAPS is for one year and not six months as is commonly believed.

In conclusion Commissioner Ferreira stated that as much as SAPS wishes to subsidise the studies of its members it unfortunately is not financially possible.

For a detailed look at the issues discussed please refer to the attached document.

The Chair asked why it was predominantly Afrikaans speaking institutions like Rand Afrikaans University and Potchestroom University only offered training SAPS programmes.

Commissioner Lombard stated that training programmes are offered in English even though they are offered at predominantly Afrikaans-speaking universities, There are programmes offered at other institutions as well.

Mr Bloem (ANC) said that if SAPS employs people with limited schooling from Grade 3 -7, what type of jobs do they perform?

Commissioner Ferreira stated that these persons are normally the gardeners, trainers, groundsman and tea ladies etc.

Adv Swart (ANC) asked what is the capacity of SAPS to offer basic training for new recruits in one year. What were the presenters feelings regarding linking promotions with qualifications.

Commissioner Lombard stated that 1200 recruits could be trained at Pretoria College at any given time. The College was having problems with the maintenance of some of its buildings which hampered training schedules somewhat, so a true figure would most probably be 300 recruits at a time every three months.
Commissioner Eloff stated that it is hoped that next year 2000 recruits would be trained.
On the second question, Commissioner Mingard stated that it is an issue that should be raised with top management.

Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked whether the assistance to SAPS personnel to complete their schooling is enforced or is it voluntarily.

Commissioner Ferreira stated SAPS would not force people to complete their schooling. The issue is one of functional literacy.

The Chair was concerned that SAPS were offering no incentives for its members to study.

Commissioner Ferreira stated that it is an issue that must be taken up by labour organisations. He conceded that when a member receives a qualification there is not always a guarantee of a promotion. Commissioner Ferreira personally felt that if a person obtains a qualification, he or she should be rewarded.

Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) pointed out that SAPS have lost many of its forensic personnel to the private sector. What is SAPS doing to hold on to its people?

Commissioner Ferreira said that conditions of service were being developed for public service employees. Members who are funded by SAPS are required to pay back bursaries in the event that they leave the service.

Adv Gaum asked what the figures were for uniformed members and detectives respectively who have not received training.

Commissioner Lombard stated that the figure for uniformed officers who have not received training is less than fifty.

Commisioner Du Plessis stated that as far as detectives are concerned about 3000 must still receive basic detective training. The present six week course will become an advanced course and a new two-week basic course would be introduced.

Commissioner Govender added that the Workplace Skills Plan would address the issue.

The meeting was adjourned.

Submission on SAPS complement & training to the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Safety & Security
Wednesday 10 October 2001
Parliament, Cape Town
Institute for Human Rights
& Criminal Justice Studies
Faculty of Public Safety
& Criminal Justice

This submission, by invitation of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Safety & Security, on the personnel complement of the SAPS and training, is based on the perceptions and impressions of the researchers of the Institute for Human Rights & Criminal Justice Studies at the Technikon SA gleaned from current and completed research projects. In no way do the Institute's researcher's claim to have expert or intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the training component of SAPS nor of curriculum content. Moreover, the Institute is not involved in the direct training of any members of the SAPS. Overall, the submission highlights some of the training issues encountered in the course of field work research on a number of crime, policing and criminal justice projects that the Institute have completed or is currently researching, inter alia farm attacks, use of force, human rights and everyday policing, murder of police officers, minimum sentencing, migrants as victims of crime. Some of these issues have been raised in previous submissions to this Portfolio Committee namely those of 5 April & 10 May 2000, and 7 March 2001. In addition, this submission has been informed by a number of discussions and consultations the Institute's researchers held with lecturers in the Police Practice Programme Group of the Faculty for Public Safety & Criminal Justice at the TechnikonSA. Finally, some of the information in this submission has been drawn from the Auditor-General's Report

Accordingly this submission deals directly with our impressions of the basic and general training being received by members of the SAPS and whether we think it is adequate and sufficient for the fulfilment of their policing mandate.

We, like the SAPS, have an interest in seeing the SAPS perform efficiently and effectively, particularly given the wide range of current constraints under which they have to deliver a service.

The submission, while identifying some of the issues and perceived shortcomings in SAPS training, will also be couched in terms of suggestions on how we think their training can be improved or refocused on specific priorities. While many of the suggestions may well be perceived to be unrealistic or overly idealistic, we do feel that they should be made in terms of setting guidelines and future goals for where SAPS training can advance. Accordingly we hope that our comments will be seen and taken on within this context.

Finally, it is our firm belief that the opinions and views of the Institute have been sought on the basis of our research track record and the fact that our research is practically orientated focusing as it does on the implementation side of the research results.

To further contextualise our comments on training we have additionally identified a number of constraints, which will not be discussed in any detail, but that we feel should be taken note of, namely

severe budgetary and other funding constraints
lack of training capacity
shortage of qualified trainers
transformation and equity demands
dependency on external (foreign) funding for specialised short courses
lack of integration between a human resources, career development plans and training curricula
attitudes towards becoming a 'learning' organisation
use of out-dated teaching methods (instructional mode)
SAQA and NQF demands for setting of standards

These issues will be touched upon within the context of the submission on the actual training

2. Training issues

Among the issues to be raised and discussed below will be the following:

Basic training
specialised training
field training officers
skills audit
establishment of a National Training Forum
setting standards
evaluation and monitoring
performance management and impact assessment
outsourcing of training

2.1 Basic training
Although the basic training curriculum was changed in 1994/95 to accommodate the transformation and the changing style of policing that was then being implemented in the SAPS there is a current need for recurriculation to take place. This need has been acknowledged by the Training Division of the SAPS and the process is apparently under way. However, it is hoped that this recurriculation will take into account and incorporate a number of issues, namely:

the need to set standards based on outcomes-based education and training
the involvement of outside expertise and study materials
the redevelopment and inclusion of up-to-date study materials
change from instructional mode of teaching (the old 'chalk and talk' methods) to greater interactive, outcomes based instruction using the latest teaching technologies and case study, real-life examples, role playing and experiential type of learning.

All the above relate to some other shortcomings within the present basic training and teaching programme of the SAPS. Some of these are discussed below:

Currently 'the investigation of crime' is not being given as a separate and specific teaching module within basic training. It would appear that this is so on the assumption that the investigation of crime is linked solely to detective training and will in any case be covered by the training received at the Detective Academy. However, ordinary recruits need to receive some form of basic training in the investigation of crime since very often a member of the uniform branch is the first police member to arrive at the scene of a crime. They need to understand the basics in terms of the preliminary investigation at a crime scene in terms of processing and securing the evidence and not tampering or 'contaminating' it. Accordingly the preliminary investigation is not restricted only to detectives. Furthermore, in line with the international trend of moving away from confession driven investigation towards evidence-led investigation it is important for recruits to receive some form of investigation of crime training in basic training so that they can understand the importance of something like evidence gathering at a crime scene and the role it plays in solving a crime as well as making a case that can stand up in court. Accordingly we strongly urge that this be included in the new recurriculated basic training given to new recruits.

There is an acknowledged shortage of capacity in the police of qualified trainers. Over the last few years a large proportion of experienced trainers, not only at the Police College in Pretoria, but also in the provinces have left the SAPS. It is important for the SAPS to invest more heavily in seeing to it that new trainers not only have the necessary training but also acquire the specialist qualifications needed to train. Furthermore, that additional trainers be appointed to improve the current imbalance (shortage) in terms of the ratio of trainers per trainees.

In addition, current trainers overall tend not to have specialist qualifications. For instance current trainers (lecturers) at the Police College lecturing in law/legal matters related to policing do not have law degrees but rely on having completed a national diploma in policing which usually includes a subject on law and the police. In other words those lecturing in law do not have a legal background. This is applicable to a certain degree to the other specialist fields in basic training. Accordingly attention needs to be given to upgrading the actual qualifications of the trainers themselves with an emphasis in obtaining specialist degrees.

A further problem surrounding the capacity of trainers refers to the difficulty in attracting suitable candidates from within the SAPS to become trainers. Many serving officers are reluctant to apply for training positions since they do not get the same allowances at the Police College that they would receive if they were stationed at a police station. Some incentive will have to be paid, either by means of financial recognition of an educational qualification or linking a training qualification to better promotion prospects. This recommendation must be seen within the context that it is important to provide quality training at the level of basic training since this is after all the main foundation or building block for producing a professional police officer. Impact of poor training can be evaluated from the fact that the public tend not to trust the ability of the police to solve crime. Hence the further question that needs to be posed in this context: What needs to be done to make the police professional? In other words the police need to define more clearly in their training how they will make someone more professional. A good pointer in this direction was provided by the 1996 National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) document which links professional police officers to the level of their qualifications in conjunction with certain experience (i.e. the building of expertise on the job).

The international trend in this regard has emphasised the obtaining of an outside tertiary qualification (preferably a degree) before entering service. For instance both the FBI and the London Metropolitan Police prefer that their new recruits already possess a degree (and this can in fact be any degree ranging from psychology to business management for that matter) before entering the service. Training in policing then to be provided when in the service. This points to a further need when recruiting for the SAPS namely, raising entry level requirements for new recruits to higher than current requirements. This will firstly ensure a better qualified recruit, and secondly it automatically tends to age the recruit, i.e. make them older. The SAPS would therefore no longer be overly reliant on such young, inexperienced (in life experience terms) recruits as in the past. Such young recruits have been traditionally linked to reckless and impulsive actions associated with youth. Therefore, a result of raising entry level requirements for new recruits will lead to a more mature, experienced and desirable candidate for training.

In recurriculating the SAPS need to be more inclusive in terms of involving outside expertise and other roleplayers. One of the demands of SAQA and the NQF processes is that the standard setting Committees for each industry be more inclusive as well as more transparent in setting standards for the training in that industry cluster. Up to date this has not happened since, for example, the current Committee for the setting of standards for the investigation of crime is dominated by serving police officers with only two outside Committee members (one each from UNISA and TSA). SAQA have called for greater transparency and inclusion of more outside roleplayers for this particular Committee.

Furthermore, such transparency and inclusion needs to be extended to other activities around the recurriculation process. For instance the SAPS can in fact cut costs of developing new study material by making use of existing offerings from tertiary institutions in South Africa. These tertiary institutions have to be competitive in the education field and therefore continually update their study material. Such updating is in fact an expensive exercise. For example the TSA have a three-year cycle of updating their study material where every year a third of the existing study material is updated. This updating includes the latest literature on a specific topic, consulting with international experts, workshopping and discussion groups etc. This is all time consuming and expensive. The police, not having the capacity to have specific study material developers or courseware designers dedicated to this specific task, should investigate the possibility of co-opting this expertise from outside institutions as well as making use of the existing study materials for policing at various tertiary institutions in South Africa.

In terms of updating study material, a consistent refrain from members of the SAPS that were interviewed during the course of research on the Institute's projects, was the fact that the existing short courses that they attend were "the same old boring stuff being repeated". Furthermore, that the manner of instruction was still the old instructional lecturing mode without making use of new innovative outcomes-based type of learning. The up-dating of content of the study material and the modernising of teaching methods therefore needs to be extended to short courses as well besides just basic training. In addition, the involvement of outside expertise and tertiary institutions will be important in this process. As in the recurriculation process for basic training it is our opinion that it is not necessary for the involvement of international implementation teams as was the case with the 1994/95 recurriculation process. We feel that there is currently enough expertise that has been built up in South Africa, particularly if you involve the right people.

Part of what we have indicated above is based on the experiences of TSA lecturers in terms of the quality of assignments being received from students. Mistakes in interpreting simple policing tasks such as statement taking reflect negatively on the training that they are receiving. A suggestion in this regard would be for the rotation of the trainers at all police training colleges and academies. By this we mean that the trainers after say a three-year period of teaching will be rotated back to the police stations so that they can go back to experiencing the practice of policing since things are constantly changing and new methods are being used. (This is the practice at the Swedish Police Academy). Such rotation can be supplemented by using your most experienced police members for one-off lectures, for example on specialist tasks. These specialist lecturers can be further supplemented by making use of outside experts. A further suggestion in this regard is a recommendation that the SAPS establish in each province a network of experts that can also be listed in a referral directory. Such experts can then be called upon to deliver the necessary lecture or training as needed (outsourcing of specialist expertise).

One of the issues of concern for training at the Police College has been the general shortage of good educational facilities. There has also been a deterioration of existing facilities. As mentioned this is directly linked to the financial constraints being placed by the budget priorities for the SAPS. This is unfortunate and we accordingly make a strong appeal that additional funding be made available to improve facilities so that better teaching methods can be implemented. For example more data projectors, the building of simulation terrain (like Hogan's Alley at the FBI Academy at Quantico which is a whole village where real-life situations can be role-played), the use of simulation video/computer packages like the Firearms Training Simulator (FATS); and the FBI computer programme which tests interview skills; the development of real-life case studies or examples database etc., to name a few.

2.2 Field Training Officers
Linked to the above is the role being played by the field training officers (FTOs), a system of training implemented in 1995. Part of the problem experienced with this system is its costs. In addition, many station commanders still hold the view that when the new recruits come out of the Police College and arrive at their station they have received 'enough training, and now you will learn by doing real policing'. This attitude is compounded by some recruits still being told to 'forget all you were taught, we do things differently here'. In other words the old policing methods are still being implemented. The latter is further complicated by the fact that the FTOs have not all received sufficient 'retraining' in all the new methods and policing strategies or approaches. Many station commanders, faced with an overload of work and dockets tend to neglect selecting a suitable FTO for their station and plead that they do not have the time or energy to assign a FTO to new recruits, the new recruits must simply fall into the job and learn as they go along. This in itself points to the fact that the current basic training does not emphasise the practical side of training in terms of experiencing real life situations.

A number of years back the TSA and UNISA proposed a FTO scheme which would firstly have cut costs for the police and, secondly ease the problem of FTO training for them. The proposal was never approved but it might be useful in the context of this submission to revive it. Basically the project proposed that these two tertiary institutions (as service providers) would make available the theoretical side of the six-week FTO training course by means of distance learning. This would then only leave a two-week period of practical training whereby the SAPS had to pay S&T and accommodation for FTOs. This would represent a three-times cheaper training for the SAPS. It would also move towards the international trend of outsourcing some of the SAPS post-basic training training. A further benefit being that the SAPS would not have to compile the learning material and the service providers can be contracted to up-date it at regular intervals. Moreover, the SAPS would be able to avoid the inhouse training problem of internal perceptions (inbreeding) of material content replacing it with an outside fresh approach. Furthermore, the theoretical part of the FTO course also serves a sifting process by getting rid of those who would fall out of the longer course. This would in effect result in a better throughput rate of the practical two-week course.

2.3 Specialised Training
One of the perceived shortcomings in specialised training is the low numbers throughputting the Detective Academy. It is largely a matter of capacity. At best the Detective Academy, working a 52 week year, holding three short courses simultaneously averaging four weeks in length with an average of 35 participants per course, can only train or retrain a maximum of 1 350 per annum. If provincial training short courses are added one can say a maximum of 2 000 detectives can be trained every year. If we take it that there are approximately 23 000 detectives these 2 000 retrained detectives are in fact too small to influence the bigger group. Detectives themselves will tell you that they do not have the time to take note of what their colleagues are learning at the Detective Academy, or implement any of it in their daily work. Primarily they cite the fact that they carry too many dockets. In this context one must remember that not all the 23 000 detectives in the SAPS are docket carrying detectives (i.e. commanders do not carry dockets.) It has been estimated that each docket-carrying detective has on average 70 dockets on hand. This requires, in a 20-working day month, the closing of 3,5 dockets per day. This is clearly an impossible task under the current workload. However, the establishment of the Detective Academy was a recognition that the SAPS detective skills were not up to international standards and that the whole detective complement needed to be retrained. Clearly at current levels of training the backlog will take years to reduce, and this just for the basic retraining detective courses. Again the Institute makes a call for the prioritisation of funding to increase the training capacity of the Detective Academy (this can be done in a number of ways inter alia increasing staff complement (qualified trainers); increasing capacity or making use of other training facilities like the Paarl, Oudtshoorn and Graaff-Reinet colleges; or outsourcing to a number of tertiary institutions or service providers.

The infrequency of specialised short courses is also a problem. While the SAPS have a substantial list of specialised courses ranging from domestic violence, cybercrime, money laundering, victim empowerment, use of force, aspects of the investigation of crime etc. and they will tell you that these are planned to be held, in reality this is not so. Unfortunately the budgetary constraints prioritise other training first for implementation and the funds allocated to training often do not stretch to include the presentation of all or any of these specialised courses. When such specialised courses are presented they are often only possible because of external donor funding. Then too this external funding is sometimes only for an once-off presentation of such a course. In other words a foreign funder will fund such a course presented by its own nationals on the assumption that the SAPS will then take the course content and using those who attended the first course as trainers present it countrywide. This raises the issue of the long-term sustainability of such special short courses since the SAPS' own budget often has not budgeted for these additional costs for presenting such follow-up courses. So while a number of specialised courses (funded by overseas donors) are being presented the impact in terms of the multiplier effect or the so-called 'trickledown' process of the information and knowledge is just not happening. In addition, there appears to be little follow-up on the special courses presented, impact assessment or evaluation of implementation. This is due not only to a shortage of funds but also to the lack of such specialist trainers inside the SAPS. Here again the SAPS can make greater use of those specialist experts within the SAPS for one-off special lectures that can basically be taken on a 'road show' around the country presenting the course. Alternatively, use can again be made of outsourcing such training functions to external expert trainers.

2.4 Skills audit
One of the issues that we would briefly like to raise is that of a skills audit for the whole of the SAPS. While the PERSAL system does list any qualification (degree, diploma or highest school standard passed) as well as any course attended it is suggested that a more detailed skills audit be done for the incumbent of every job. Such a skills audit will not only indicate where there are gaps but also where there are skills that can be better utilised especially in imparting knowledge and skills in special training. In addition, it can also plot out a career development path for each member. All of this will enable the SAPS management to more effectively and efficiently plan the movement of personnel to areas of priority and to short courses throughout the year.

2.5 National Training Forum
Hand-in-hand with a skills audit would go the establishment of a National Training Forum where external roleplayers can be invited to offer advice on training curricula, study material content, setting up of expert networks and referral registers, acessing donors and general training and skills needs.

2.6 Standards setting
Allied to both the above points is the greater use of the SAQA, NQF, POSLEC. And SETA processes for setting standards for police training. As mentioned above the call here is for greater inclusivity in co-opting external roleplayers onto the various standard setting Committees. It is important for the quality of police training to be evaluated and measured against set standards, particular those that can be compared to external and international standards.

2.7 Impact evaluation
In terms of the above three points it is also important for the police to institute proper performance evaluation measures as well as to conduct in-depth impact assessments of the effect their training has on the performance of police personnel (in a widerange of activities and service delivery). Here what is needed is some scientific research projects in which continuous impact studies can be launched. This can be an important monitoring and evaluation role that external researchers can perform for the SAPS. In other words the SAPS should plan for moving away from internal to a more objective and scientific external evaluation system. Too often the SAPS merely assess their training by pointing to the number of courses held or the numbers of new recruits without assessing impact or prioritising the different types of courses. Sustainability of a number of courses is in question here. Mention can be made of the ABET programme which has not gone further than the pilot project stage; and the drivers training courses which are still out on tender although planned a number of years ago.

Overall, it is our opinion that the SAPS still suffers somewhat from viewing learning as 'something a teacher does to the learner'. There still appears to lack the vital and essential paradigm shift to viewing the organisation as one of continuous learning or training, i.e. getting a qualification for implementing the skills learnt as opposed to rather just for a piece of paper. Members need to be inculcated to the view of believing in continuous learning in order to professionalise themselves and deliver a better service and thereby gaining the trust of the communities they serve.

3. Police complement
At the outset it must be said that it was difficult to obtain a breakdown of the number of police members in each unit. These figures are currently not available from the SAPS. Moreover, the number of police members who are currently on suspension or have been booked off on medical grounds is not known. However, the researchers were informed that the SAPS will in future try and capture information pertaining to the staff complement of the various units on their systems. Given this constraint it is therefore difficult to make an accurate assessment of the staff complement of the SAPS vis-a-vis the population as well as the level of service delivery that communities can expect.

According to the Auditor General's report for 1999/2000, the total number of SAPS members decreased from 128 251 in March 1999 to 124 158 as at 30 March 2000. As at August 2001 there were 121 042 police members - this figure includes civilians, temporary members and those on contract. In addition, this figure does not exclude those police members who are on suspension or off sick on medical grounds.

3.1 Training
The auditor general's report states that training in the SAPS was in the "process of major transformation". Furthermore, that policies and strategies for training were being developed in accordance with the national commissioner's crime prevention strategy.

At March 1999, 5 840 (40%) of a total of 13 220 general investigators still had to undergo basic training while 2 800 were semi-literate and needed to access the adult basic education and training (ABET) programme. At May 1999 there was a need to train roughly 4 070 staff members in a qualification equal to Grade 9. To date only 787 members have received ABET training. Information received to date indicates that the ABET process was subject to a long and protracted tender procedure that has not been resolved as yet. It is hoped that the matter will be given urgent attention given the great need for this type of training. This also impacts on service delivery towards the general public.

A work study carried out at some commercial crime branches in March 1998 revealed that these investigators found that the general detectives course did not meet their specific requirements since it was based on general crime and not fraud per se. Apparently, in 1999 an effort was made to design and develop a training programme for commercial crime investigators - this was done in conjunction with legal experts, Business Against Crime (BAC), the banking industry and academics from different universities. In addition to money from the SAPS, BAC and RDP, foreign donor funding was received from the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. In the auditors general's report it was envisaged that 500 commercial crime investigators would be trained.

3.2 Performance Audits
The auditor general conducted the performance audit in accordance with standard government auditing standards and internal guidelines for planning, execution, reporting and follow-up of performance audits.

The scope of the audit was as follows:

The workload of staff members
Affirmative action
Service delivery
Training of staff members
Redeployment of functional members.

The auditor general warned that a "decrease in funds available for operational activities could have serious consequences for the SAPS". In order to reduce the impact of "down-managing" the number of police members on policing the organisation put the following measures in place:

Down managing absenteeism from 30 to 10%
Releasing 5 000 functional members from administrative duties to do policing
Implementing accelerated training and development programmes.

The downsizing of police members has an impact on the ability of the police to deliver its service effectively and efficiently. However, we need to know whether or not the 5 000 functional members were in fact released in order to do policing duties.

3.3 Workload
According to the Auditor General's report the "ideal number of detectives needed for general and specialised investigations of category A crime cases was set at one detective per ten cases". The report also contains useful information on the number of cases on hand as well as the average workload per detective per province as at September 1998.

Workload of staff members


Total number of cases on hand as Sept 1998

Average number of cases per detective


204 017



144 173



87 570


Northern Province

164 312


Northern Cape

24 735


North West

142 783


Eastern Cape

242 111


Free State

53 150


Western Cape

95 661



1 158 512


The SAPS initiated Project Effective Detective in Johannesburg in order to reduce the workload of general detectives. The purpose of the project was to

Decrease the number of cases on hand
Allow detectives to focus on the positive solving of cases by closing them as withdrawn inter alia where the complainant has no interest in pursuing the matter further.

The impact of this project is not known and we look forward to further reporting of this in the next Auditor General's report.

The current situation with respect to the distribution of police personnel per province; people per police person by provinces; square kilometre per police person; category "A" crimes per police person and per detective (i.e. workload) are illustrated in the maps below.

The auditor general examined the workload of the forensic analysts and found that there were 600 cases per forensic analyst. The international standard is 130 cases per analyst. Given the workload of the forensic analysts it was found that the forensic science laboratory is understaffed by 276 forensic analysts. If only serious crimes are taken into account then in 1996 and 1997 only 2,6% of all serious crimes were handled amounting to 53 857 and 53 673 cases respectively. In 1998 the number of forensic analysts declined from 253 in 1996 to 234 in 1998. The present state of affairs was not examined for the purposes of this submission. However, it must be said that the forensic science laboratory plays a crucial role in the investigation of crime. Understaffing could contribute to a test results being delayed thereby hindering the efficiency of the investigators in apprehension of suspects and the solving of serious crimes. Consequently, increasing staffing at the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory is of vital importance.

In the Auditor General's report it was said that the SAPS was "working towards establishing accredited training programmes for forensic analysts in conjunction with tertiary training institutions". We would like to know how far this process has gone.

Summary of Recommendations
Outsourcing of training and courseware development
Establishment of a network of external trainers/experts in the various provinces
SAPS to make a concerted effort to become a learning organisation
That the training of detectives becomes prioritised (this in the context that it is not yet known what the impact will be of the dissolution of the specialised units)
Training given to the Scorpions be filtered through to the SAPS
ABET process needs to get underway as soon as possible

We would like to again thank the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Safety & Security for this opportunity to present the views of the Institute for Human Rights & Criminal Justice Studies concerning the SAPS complement and issues around the training of police members.
Compiled by:

Dr A. Minnaar & Ms D. Mistry
Senior Researchers
Institute for Human Rights & Criminal Justice Studies
Faculty for Public Safety & Criminal Justice


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